Tom Dean Had COVID Twice in Leadup to Racing Under British 200 Free Record


British swimmer Thomas Dean had COVID twice, he revealed in a post-race interview Sunday. In spite of those challenges, he still swam under the British Record and finishing second to Duncan Scott by .11 seconds.

When asked post-race what his plan was heading into the Olympics, the 20-year old Dean said that “I think just have a block to be honest, leading into summer. After having COVID twice, three weeks out of the pool each time, it’s been pretty brutal coming into trials, with some real disruptions. So, if I can get sort of a block from here to the summer, who knows what might happen.”

It is possible, though not common, to be reinfected with COVID-19 after developing antibodies following an infection.

Dean tells SwimSwam that his first infection came in September, the week before he was supposed to fly out for the International Swimming League season in Budapest (which is why he, and a few other British swimmers, arrived late).

He then contracted a second case, which he describes as “very severe,” over the New Year. He was out of the water for 3 weeks at that time and then had 3 weeks to rebuild his strength.

Dean says that rumors of a 3rd exposure that resulted in isolation are untrue, and that he’s only been out of the water twice.

Dean also swam best times of 3:47.48 in the 400 free for 2nd place and 48.51 for 3rd place in the 100 free.

Dean trains out of the Bath training center under coach Dave McNulty.

Also in the interview:

  • Scott indicates that he’s planning to race at the European Championships in May.
  • Dean says that “Duncan pulled him through” as he skipped from a personal best of 1:46 all the way through to 1:45.
  • Scott points out that it was his first tapered 200 freestyle since August 2019, so he was pleased with the swim.
  • Dean says the swim was better than he ever could have expected.

The full interview can be seen here, starting at the 4:30 mark:

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Mr Piano
28 days ago

He’s the British Counterpart of Dean Farris

Reply to  Mr Piano
28 days ago

Much better

Chalmers > Dressel
Reply to  whever
28 days ago

Tom Dean > Dean Farris

Reply to  Chalmers > Dressel
28 days ago

tom dean received multiple stab wounds to the abdomen in the ready room ahead of the race

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Mr Piano
28 days ago

The American Dean will one-up him by injecting himself with Ultra-Covid right before each of his races at Trials.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Steve Nolan
28 days ago

Or bleach.

28 days ago

On the note of Duncan Scott swimming at Euros next month I believe Chris Spice mentioned to Andy Jameson during the men’s 1500m freestyle that those who hit consideration times/got close and a few juniors will ALL be going to Euros as one of the targeted preparation meets in the build up to Tokyo. Not necessarily expecting fast times, I think it’s more to give them as much race prep as possible.

Reply to  Jeff
28 days ago

Yeah, they did the same in 2016. Our 4×2 finished sixth, Jame Guy missed the 400fr final etc… They won’t let them rest up at all, it’ll just be race prep for Tokyo.

Reply to  Jeff
28 days ago

Good idea. Not getting enough race experience contributes to underperforming at the big meet (looking at you aussies).

Reply to  Svird
28 days ago

Haha. Did you see last World Championships

Corn Pop
Reply to  Svird
28 days ago

It helps if the comp is in Aust time & travel zone eg East Asia.

I suspect past Swim Aust personnel have used international comps to further their own networking & social lives . You are forgetting WHO are important .

Reply to  Svird
27 days ago

I am not a fan of making unnecessary trips during this time, i think at an event like the european championships the risk of getting infected is higher and if you catch it, it might harm your chances in Tokyo. As an athlete i would only make the trip if i got vaccinated before.

28 days ago

Even if each bout left no lingering effects at all, just the time out of the pool must have been a huge loss.

Matsumoto and Scott come into Tokyo as very safe bets for a fast swim, they’ve proved they can do it on the international stage and they’ve looked on very good form this year. If Haas drops a 1.44 in Omaha, throw him in the same bracket.

The more unknown quantities will be Dean (Covid, little international experience) and if any of the American college stars throw down big at Trials after 2 years hard training/growing without a long course taper.

Rapsys a bit in the middle. Proven quantity at big meets, but won’t have… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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